The [...] Catholic bishop in Sweden some years back rejected Sten Sandmark's desire to be Catholic in favor of ecumenism. How do you view this bishop now that you are Catholic, and what do you think of ecumenism?
Well, about 12 years ago, five people went to the Catholic Bishop saying they wanted to be Catholic. He told us to "hold our horses," and said that we could be "Catholic in our hearts." The highest Catholic authority told us this, and hence we assumed this was a right thing to do. So instead of founding an Augustinian Catholic monastery, these five founded the monastery within the Lutheran Church. Some died, some left, so he was alone until I came almost three years ago.
So the only "support" the bishop gave us in becoming Catholic was sending a Christmas card every year.That's very sad–to hear that some people wanted to become Catholic but were barred by those who should have welcomed them in. I'm sorry.
We had been studying Catholic doctrine, and we were afraid because we thought that "outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation"–and we did not want to be outside! But it seems that these Catholic bishops today think it's not true. It's a really strange behavior. There are 80,000 Catholics in Sweden; most of them are from the Eastern countries, but with a climate like this, of course there are no conversions.As a convert, what's your perspective on ecumenism?
Well, there is false ecumenism and real ecumenism; we see false ecumenism all the time. But real ecumenism is to belong to the real Church of Christ founded on St. Peter. To take another view of ecumenism, while we were Lutherans, we invited the Bishop to our house seven times. He did come to the town once, but he did not stop by. Instead, he went to celebrate Mass at the parish of a priest who was the chaplain of the Freemasonic lodge in the town. We warned him about it, but he did not care. He was shaking hands with them and laughing with them.
We said to him afterwards that we thought that the Catholic Church, which has the eternal truths, cannot deal with Freemasons. He said that the Lutheran Church has another opinion, that is that Freemasonry is "okay," and so out of respect for Lutherans, we should obey that guideline of the Catholic bishop.That's really unbelievable. He put up obstacles to your conversion. What do you think are the biggest obstacles that are put up to the convert these days?
Ecumenism, of course–that you are free to belong to any sect. The Catholic Church has abandoned its supremacy and its teaching " extra ecclesiam nulla salus." It seems as though the Church is doing everything to keep people out of her. They allow adherence to heresy. It used to be that they would fight against the heresy, but now they are friends with the heresy. As a former heretic, it seems so strange to me that the Church wants to be friendly and go down the road of heresy, especially with Vatican II, the ecumenical meeting in Assisi, and the joint declaration on the doctrine of justification with the Lutherans 1999.
What compounds this is our attitude in Sweden. We are very secularized and westernized–we want the newest car, television, movie, etc. There are some movements in Sweden that want spirituality, that want to go back to their "roots," but all over Sweden it is very bad and anti-Christian.
There was an exhibition not too long ago, which the Lutheran Church was paying for, called " Ecce Homo." It was composed of portraits of Christ as naked–terrible, blaspheming pictures. This was terrible, and at least the Catholic bishop spoke up against it, and the Pope took back his invitation to the Swedish Lutheran "Archbishop" to come to Rome that year. Yet this is what Lutheranism does. It is trying to attack Christianity even in its roots of respect for Christ.